Wind power is one of the great untapped energy sources in the world. With wind turbines and wind farms popping up all over the world, there is still one place where winds are plentiful, but where the world has yet to take full advantage. The ocean is an idea place for harvesting wind power, but it is only becoming popular in recent years.
The need for massive amounts of power without depleting so much of the earth’s natural resources is growing with each year, so the search for more power sources is on. That is where offshore wind farms come into play. While they are still a bit of a curiosity in most places, there are a growing number of them popping up off the shores of countries around the globe. What, though, exactly is an offshore wind farm and how does it help produce the energy needed? Here is a little information that should clear that up for you.
What is an Offshore Wind Farm
An offshore wind farm is really what it sounds like. It is a wind farm that is placed out to sea. There it is away from property where people sometimes object to wind farms because they do not want the wind turbines in their view. Out in the ocean, they are out of the way of people.
Why Put Wind Turbines in the Sea
Oceans and seas are perfect places for wind turbines. There, they are in an environment where it is nearly always windy. On the surface of the water, there is almost nothing to block the wind or slow it down. There are no trees, no hills, and no buildings. There, the wind can turn the turbines at a high speed and consistently, and those turbines can be used to power a generator and produce electricity.
Any offshore wind farm, as technology currently exists, needs to be in fairly shallow water. That is because the turbines can only be built at depths of about 60 to 90 feet. If they go much deeper, it becomes hard to put the poles up that hold the turbines. There are, though, now experimental turbines being put out at greater depths with the hope of extending them out to over 200 feet.
The sites where offshore wind farms can be placed are only limited by a small number of factors. Aside from the depth of the water, engineers must take care to avoid places used for bird flyways. They must also pay attention to boating lands and waste sites. Other than those factors, though, the limits are only depth and imagination.
Offshore Wind Farm Opposition
Aside from the obvious ability to put out more wind farms when dealing offshore, there is the overall effect. For instance, the entire east coast of the US could be powered with the use wind farms. That would save almost 60% in greenhouse gasses. Additionally, it would cut down on costs and all other types of pollution.
There are always cons and objections to things like this. With offshore wind farms, there are a couple of common problems. For one, many people complain about the way they look off the shore. Additionally, some are worried about the destruction of surface habitats. While there are still other people who are concerned about the effect that the turbines will have on local weather patterns.
With the potential they hold, it seems that offshore wind farm construction is not likely to go away anytime soon. Even though there are objections, offshore wind farms could provide the world with energy that is renewable, clean, and efficient.